Delilah
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Wood ash and urine for Tomatoes and vegies - what's the go?!

Hi

I read somewhere never to put wood ash on Tomatos because they are acid loving and ash is very alkaline. I also read never to combine wood ash with ammonia, nitrogen or urea-based fertilizers, as they react and the nitrogen/ammonia is released or something.

BUT, then I read this:

"A team of Finnish researchers found that sprinkling tomatoes with human urine mixed with wood ash was the ultimate eco-friendly fertiliser. The mixture produced bumper harvests when compared to untreated plants. ...crops up to four times larger.

It worked just as well with cucumber, corn, cabbage and other crops. Although scientists have previously tested urine on plants, this is the first one to mix it with wood ash."


What gives?! :shock:

Um, has anyone tried this? :)

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rainbowgardener
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Human urine is customarily a bit on the acid side, which might help balance out the alkalinity of the wood ash.

However, I did read that us vegetarians have urine which is neutral to a bit alkaline (pH 7 to 8 ). Never tested mine, maybe I should sometime!

If true this might not work as well for me! :) (especially since my soil already tends to alkaline)

It does seem like a good combination. Wood ash contains potassium, some phosphate and trace amounts of micro-nutrients including iron, zinc and others. It does not contain nitrogen, but the urine would supply that, so together it would be pretty nutrient balanced.

I put my wood ashes in my compost pile, where they get mixed with other stuff to get balanced out and broken down.
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gixxerific
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I normally put my wood ash in my compost as well maybe a little sprinkeld here and there. I also put urine in my compost so maybe I'm doing something right.

Maybe I should pee on my fire and get it at the beginning of the cycle. :?: :?

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engineeredgarden
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My pee is reserved for the compost pile too, but I have no ashes to use at all. Dang, speaking of pee....I need to go right now, but will try to hold it 'til I get home. Heh.

EG

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Gary350
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I have a wood stove and about four 5 gallon buckets of wood ash every winter. I mix the wood ash with some compost and pee in it for a week. It smells like Ammonia and the organic material decomposes to tiny little pieces of black material in about 1 month in the summer when the weather is hot. I have experemented with different quantities of wood ash and the more wood ash I add the better the fertilizer gets. It makes my plants grow great.

tedln
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I've never heard of mixing the two for a specific benefit. I've always added the wood ash from my big smoker to my compost pile just for the benefit of the minerals.

I've known many gardeners over the years that believe the best thing they do for their tomatoes is visit the garden at night when the neighbors are not watching and make direct deposits. I haven't tried it because I would not feel good the next day when I ask my neighbors if they would like some of my fresh tomatoes.

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keen gardener
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wood ash and urine

Hi Delilha

I am a professional gardener and wood ash is an excellent source of potash and is alkaline, so don't put it around acid loving plants like citrus. Good idea to compost and neutralise it then it is safe for everything.

Just be wary of human urine, because human diseases can be transferred and picked up by plants. Although many chinese vegetable gardeners used human waster and composted it properly.
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rainbowgardener
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There are a number of diseases and parasites that can be transmitted through feces (humanure), which is why you would need to be very careful about composting that before using it in the garden. When we had a composting toilet, we further composted the product and still used it on flower beds, not food crops.

But urine is different. It is usually sterile as it emerges from the body and there are hardly any diseases that can be transmitted that way.
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applestar
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I don't have a fireplace or woodstove -- though I wish I did and they're always included in my dream grand remodeling plans. :wink:

What I have is a copper firepit on my patio which produces limited amount of woodash that I can add to my compost and sprinkle around the base of my fruit trees (supposed to deter/repel borers). I've also earmarked some to sprinkle with peas at planting time as per Emilia Hazelip when I'm not inoculating the pea seeds (I believe the woodash would be detrimental to the rhizobium inoculant if placed in direct contact -- if this is not true, somebody correct me :D).

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Troppofoodgardener
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No harm in trying wood ash & urine and seeing if it works. I agree with rainbowgardener... human urine is not the same as human faeces. And I think human anatomy is quite different to plant anatomy, so plants won't pick up diseases from us readily.

However using urine from someone with a liver/kidney disease should maybe be avoided?

My grandmother used to mix her own pee with grounded-up kitchen waste and fed her plants with this mixture. I have never seen more robust, healthy plants!

Try some of the wood ash & urine on some tomato plants, and not others. That way you can see if there's any difference. Gardening is a form of experimentation after all... these scientists may be onto something!
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tedln
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I know if I pee in my yard at night, it will leave a dead spot in the lawn within a couple of days. I have always assumed the concentrated salt is the villain, but I don't know. The dead spot will not grow anything for about one year. My 100 lb. Labrador dog also leaves a lot of dead spots for the same reason. I Can't believe the salt would be good for the garden. You can't neutralize salt. You can only dilute it, but it will build up over time.

I grew up with two families of Chinese who kept a honey pot on their back porch for the night soil and urine. It usually aged for about a year and was then used in the garden. They grew great veggies.

I know from spending a lot of time in the forest hunting and fishing, if you pee in the same spot for a long time, and then not return for a few months; the wild animals will have dug up the soil where you were peeing. After it ages for awhile, it becomes a salt lick and the animals consume the dirt to get the salt.

Ted
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Delilah
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Ted, I think it's the overly concentrated urea which is too much in direct contact with the leaves and roots of the grass. More diluted it acts as a great greening fertilizer for grass. So, if you see your dog pee on a prime patch of lawn, go out immediately with a watering can and watering it in. No harm will then come to that patch of grass.

'Salt' - or 'salts' - is just another way of saying 'minerals'. All plants and animals require a spectrum of minerals for life. Again it's just the high concentration which harms. Little and often is the way.

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Troppofoodgardener
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yes.. i agree with the above. Always dilute urine with water and/or something else first if you're going to use it on plants! (wouldn't know the ratio as I don't use it myself) Directly applied urine will cause bad patches in grass lawns, that's common knowledge. Didn't know about it causing salt licks though. :shock:
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tedln
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Delilah wrote:Ted, I think it's the overly concentrated urea which is too much in direct contact with the leaves and roots of the grass. More diluted it acts as a great greening fertilizer for grass. So, if you see your dog pee on a prime patch of lawn, go out immediately with a watering can and watering it in. No harm will then come to that patch of grass.

'Salt' - or 'salts' - is just another way of saying 'minerals'. All plants and animals require a spectrum of minerals for life. Again it's just the high concentration which harms. Little and often is the way.
Yep, most minerals can be described as salts in certain forms, but I was actually referring to sodium chloride salts or common table salt. If I remember my biology correctly, sodium chloride in humans helps maintain cell wall tensions and expedites the transfer of fluids into and out of cells. Excess sodium chloride is excreted through urine in order to maintain the correct balance. I've never considered the harmful or beneficial effects it may have on plant life, but it is my understanding it is harmful when concentrated amounts are present.

You may well be right about the urea. I hadn't considered it. I believe urea will dissipate to the atmosphere while the sodium chloride will concentrate with multiple applications.

Ted
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tomakers
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Somewhere I read that holes in the lawn from your dog can be minimized by sprinkling the affected area with left over soda. I'm not sure of the mechanism, but I know it works. You must use regular soda, not diet. I guess the sugar is the important ingredient.
Personally, I water my shrubs at night, and not on the side with neighbors.
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Delilah
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I imagine it's the water that's the most important ingredient.

Could be something to do with the carbon dioxide or phosphoric acid too, but water alone will prevent pee burn.

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